Organized Sound and Noise

While studying electronic music at the University of Maine, I became fascinated with the works of Karlheinz Stockausen, one of the most brilliant composers of the twentieth century. More than his works, however, was the illumination he brings to the very essence of sound itself, which Stockausen studied not just in classical, traditional methods, but also with investigations into the foundations of modern acoustics, and in breaking completely new ground, synthesizing sounds from the familiar, or strange, to the otherwordly.

In this lecture shown below, Stockhausen illuminates the role of conscious or organized sound on its effect on the listener.

Karlheinz Stockausen’s May 1972 lecture to the Oxford Union on “Four Criteria of Electronic Music”:

A comment about noise from Rand Acoustics: What is noise, then? What we often experience as noise might be fairly thought of as sound that is made unconsciously, without a thought to its effects. When noise is produced as a byproduct of a operation for profit, the conundrum for the neighbors becomes clear. The noise-producers are acting deliberately to make a profit; how can it be that they are also acting unconsciously to create the noise they make?